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Why does popped popcorn have less calories than unpopped?

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I bought a tub if unpopped kettle corn at blockbuster tonight. It says 2 Tbsp of UNPOPPED has 170 calories (2 tbsp of kernels yeilds about 4 cups popped) and that it has only 30 calories per cup when popped.


If 2 tbsp yeilds 4 cups and there are about 3.5 servings per container that would be 14 cups popped. Multiply 14 x 30 and you get 420. If you do the math unpopped you get 595 calories. Big difference. What gives?
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I rarely eat popcorn, but doesn't "kettle corn" imply cooked with sugar?
Plain, air popped corn has 31 calories per cup.  If there is anything added to the popping mixture, like oil or sugar, then it would be more. 

If you look at this unpopped kettle corn, you can see it has a lot of fat in it. 221.html 
Ummm, come on people.  The popped popcorn takes up more space, so the fat is not as concentrated.  Plain and simple.
Thanks Joce (I second that!), I was afraid nobody was going to step up to the plate. LOL! 
Wiki confirmed confirmed Kettle Corn has both added.

One serving as defined by the product's container as BOTH 2 Tbsp unpopped and 4 cups popped.  The change in density and volume is air.
Yes, I too calculated the difference, but foods offer decrease in calorie content after being cooked, thank you.
My question is HOW can there be less calories after popping?
It looks like the package is inaccurate to me.  The only thing lost in cooking is moisture.  The amount of moisture in unpopped corn is tiny. 
That's what I am figuring too--rounding and unexploded kernals. 

It would be interesting to weigh the package before popping, and the package and actual edible popcorn after popping, less unexploded kernals.  Also wonder what percentage of oil is lost on the packaging and that is not consumed.

This disparity is apparent with the Nutrition Fact for Orville Redenbacher's.

I googled the question "why does popped popcorn have less calories?" and was led to a physics forum that debated the same question. It seems that the prevailing theory is that the oil from the kernels explodes and soaks into the bag and is not ingested.

I suppose I should call Orville and ask him! (although I'd have to use a ouija board for that particular call!! )
oil from the kernels explodes and soaks into the bag and is not ingested

Once I understood the question, I did hit the answer independently.

I let bias interfere when I attributed the 50-calorie difference per serving to the wrong side, with expecting the popped popcorn to weigh more, especially given this was a flavored variety.  Once I was corrected that the problem was popped weighed less, then I figured there had to be residue on the bag.  I know when I have made Act II popcorn, there is considerable residue on the inside of the bag.
@.@ so complicated over a bag of pop corn... just make your own ^^b
Yes sweet, but it's been a fun discussion.  And it sounds like the physicists think so too.
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Question 1: How did do we know there is 30 calories per cups of popped popcorn?  If this is true then the equation below for popped porcorn would be correct:

2 Tbsp of unpopped = 4 cups popped

30 calories = 1 cup of popped popcorn

4 cups x 30 calories = 120 calories in popped popcorn.

Question 2: Now the second half of the posting is confusing...surely you didn't get 14 cups of popped popcorn or even 14 cups of unpopped popcorn?

I think the package meant that once popped there is 3.5 servings out of 4 cups of popped popcorn.  4/3.5 = 1.14 cups per serving.

Which means that theres about 35 calories per serving.

Does anyone have any feedback on my logic or my math?

What's with the information I found on an Orville Redenbacher's popcorn box? Why do they give the calories and other nutrition information for both unpopped and popped? Why are there more calories in unpopped popcorn than popped? There's also more fat, sodium and fiber in unpopped. My husband believes some government regulation requires this. Can you explain?

First of all, your husband is correct, in that the Food and Drug Administration requires the labeling of products as the consumer receives them, not after the consumer has cooked or popped them.

The box I have in front of me (and Orville has almost a dozen kinds on the shelf, all with different nutrition numbers) says that 35 grams of unpopped kernels make about four cups popped. But the number of cups of popped corn I am able to get from 35 grams of kernels will depend on the power of my microwave oven. A lower-powered oven will turn out fewer cups of popped corn because it leaves behind more "old maids." So the "4 cups of popped per 35 gram serving" can be only a rough guide.

If the numbers of calories and grams of fat turn out to be higher in the unpopped product than in the popped corn (as they also did in my case), it's not because of any loss of nutrients during the popping process. It's simply due to the approximate nature of the "4 cups" figure.

Then why do they even bother to give the amounts of nutrients in the popped corn? According to a sweet, recorded voice on Mr. Redenbacher's customer service line, they are listed only for the consumers' convenience, so that we can measure the number of cups of popped corn we consume and multiply it by the number of calories and grams of fat per cup.


If I use microwave popcorn such as OR, then I just record in my calorie log what it says on the Nutritional Information.  120 calories per "serving."  2.5 servings per bag  Total that I log is 300.

I prefer cooking popcorn in my Stir Crazy.  I put 1 tb. of extra virgin olive oil per 4 tbs of uncooked popcorn.  I figure the olive oil at 120 calories and the 4 tbs of popcorn at 200 calories (50 per tb.).  Now, since not all the olive oil actually ends up being eaten, since a significant amount stays on the heating element and on the sides and bottom of the bowl, I subtract 20 calories per tablespoon used.  (Not very scientific, I admit.)  The Stir Crazy makes almost no "grannies," so I count the full 200 calories.  Total I log, then, is 300 calories.  I don't even bother to figure out how many cups cooked.  I base everything on the original dry measurements.

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